Parliament's labour committee
South African Federation of Trade Unions member holds a placard that mocks President Cyril Ramaphosa, where they described the proposed minimum wage as an insult to workers on 25 April 2018. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

Parliament’s labour committee has moved to correct a technical error in the National Minimum Wage Act which came into effect on 1 January.

It’s now introduced an amendment to the act to fix a cross-referencing mistake that will affect workers from challenging instances where benefits or working conditions were unilaterally changed, in reaction to the new law.

The protection was to be backdated to the 1 May 2017 but was accidentally omitted in the final act signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The national minimum wage law requires employers to pay ordinary workers R20 an hour.

During a debate on the amendment, the Democratic Alliance (DA), Economic Freedom Fighters and Inkatha Freedom Party again used the opportunity to express their opposition to a national minimum wage, saying it will not encourage job creation in a poor economic climate.

The United Democratic Movement, however, said it believed it was a step in the right direction.

The DA’s Michael Bagraim slammed the necessity for an amendment as gross negligence on the part of the committee, saying he had pointed out the error last year.

However, former acting chairperson of the committee Sharome van Schalkwyk said it was irrelevant if the committee made the error in haste because it did so to improve the lives of those working in vulnerable sectors.

“It means that workers now no longer have the key protection backdating to 1 May 2017. That’s why it’s important for the ANC to push this amendment through as soon as possible.”

The amendment does not affect the implementation of the law.